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Archive Surgical Construction 2017

Why We Renovated for Outpatient Spine

Our surgery center expanded into a rehabbed facility for a fraction of what new construction would have cost.

Rob Gagnon


outpatient spine WESTSIDE STORY The Yellowstone Surgery Center recently opened a multipurpose facility on the outskirts of Billings, Mont.

Eight years ago, a group of surgeons built a multipurpose facility here in Billings, Mont., with the intention of opening an orthopedic and neuromuscular spine institute. When the project reached an impasse for a host of reasons, the group simply vacated the 21,000-square-foot complex. We recognized the opportunity and began a renovation project that has let us capitalize on the movement of anterior lumbar fusions and multilevel cervical disc replacements to the outpatient setting. It wasn't the smoothest of transitions, but we couldn't be happier with the growth potential of the finished space.

Our primary reason for adding the new location was to handle our total joints volume, but we also saw the opportunity to piggyback our developing spine service on the new venture. The shuttered facility featured an imaging center, a large clinic space and a single-OR surgery center. It was also outfitted to accommodate overnight stays, which was ideally suited to handle the extended recoveries that are sometimes needed after complex spine cases.

Our orthopedic surgeons toured the abandoned facility and decided the floor plan was a perfect fit for housing total joints procedures. The surgeons, who are 50% owners of our main surgery center, discussed the opportunity with representatives from the local health system, which owns the center's other half.

The groups decided to approach the opportunity with short-term goals in mind, to determine how the space fit our current needs and reassess the arrangement to see if a longer-term commitment made sense. The health system had plans to build a medical campus in the area where the abandoned facility sat and viewed the renovation project as an opportunity to expand their services with very little investment. We all agreed the project was a go, but the approaching Montana winter would soon have us questioning that decision.

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